by Mark Doornbosch

Don’t Succumb to Retail Data Addiction

“Success is about competing in the relationship dimension. Not as an alternative to having a competitive product or reasonable price— but as a differentiator.”  – Bob Thompson, CEO, CustomerThink Corp. 

To understand your retail business drivers and your ideal customer, data is a “must have” for most retail organizations, yet few data reporting systems deliver the hoped-for results. Fewer still truly achieve full potential. The problem is the amount of data. Data arrives with such volume and velocity it has become harder to identity what is the most important data needed to drive your retail business.   

The fact is, too many retailers succumb to data addiction. They feel the more they have, the better chance they have oincreasing revenueBut all too often, businesses have too much data and find themselves mired in analysis paralysis. 

Data is great for understanding previous performance, but data alone does not provide insights or spot trends. Data is a picture of the past; it can help you understand what has happened, but you can’t affect what has happened because it’s in the past. Used to its full potential, data can help you anticipate what will happen, giving you the ability to impact the future. 

Configure and Collect the Right Way

Configure your data systems and metrics to align with your customer’s buying journey. Ensure that you only cascade the most important data impacting your ability to provide a positive customer experience. Focusing your managers and associates on the customer experience will directly drive sales and increase revenue. If you focus strictly on the bottom-line numbers, you’ll be missing the total picture—a picture that data can provide when optimally analyzed and applied.  

Collect data that gives you a view into consumers’ behavior and attitudes, their lifestyle, brand preferences and product buying habits. Ideally, you should have access to real-time data that is scaled to fit your particular needs. Effectively analyzed, such data can give you insight into what motivates consumer buying decisions. You’ll then be in a better position to leverage the data to ensure your operational and marketing strategies have maximum impact on your ideal customers. 

The challenge is clear. Embrace data in a way that provides a comprehensive, integrated picture of your retail business. Then flip the “What’s in it for Me” (WIIFM) script to “What’s in it for the Customer” (WIIFTC). 

Take Action 

Start by making sure your data systems fully reflect your defined ideal customer’s buying journey as demonstrated within your sales process. 

Take a careful look at what data managers and associates need to drive a positive customer experience. Then create dashboards that relate to what is the most important and remove the clutter. Make sure that your data implementation passes the “WIIFTC” test. 

Ensure that you are using the information generated by your data system in a constructive and productive way. 

Change the way your data is being analyzed to spot trends and provide actionable insights to keep your retail business moving forward. 

If data is not used, referenced, validated, questioned or challenged, it will be viewed as insignificant or as “just another report of what I already know.” 

Want to learn more? Stay tuned for our forthcoming new eBookAgility in Retail is Everything: 12 Action Steps to Accelerate Retail Growth. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As a Retail Practice Leader at MarketSource, Mark works with national brands focused on retail distribution to execute their field marketing plans. The MarketSource message is simple; we help you sell more, faster. As the self-proclaimed Retail Sales Sensei and Master of Marketing Zen, Mark can be reached via LinkedIn or through the MarketSource sales concierge.

At MarketSource, an Allegis Group company, we believe better sales begin with better relationships. Our proven alternative to traditional outsourced sales is led by a proprietary process that helps businesses thrive by fostering deeper connections between people and brands.